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Marketing Tinder for friends: New apps cater to people seeking platonic friendships

Sick of the seasonal chatter of Valentine's Day dinner reservations, boxes of chocolates and bouquets of roses? You're not the only one.

Trend Hunter's research has shown romantic relationships are not the top priority for those in their 20s today, and the notion that one needs a man or woman is being scoffed at – especially by young women. Movies such as How to be Single, strong single leading ladies such as Jennifer Lawrence and prominent celebrity girl squads a la Taylor Swift are shifting the focus from romantic relationships to other types of relationships.

'Hey! VINA' is a Tinder-inspired app that focuses on connecting like-minded women to form new friendships (rather than focusing on facilitating hookups and plenty of awkward dinner conversations). The app allows women to broaden their social sphere by browsing different profiles that they're shown through an advanced algorithm that incorporates data such as mutual friends, quizzes taken through the app and how close connections are to one another.

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These sort of matchmaking services aren't only targeting women either. Voyaj is an inclusive app that looks to connect travelers with travel hosts and form friendships. Why? Experience new places through your host's eyes and get immersed into the culture place you're visiting. And it's a great way to build a network of places to crash and people you don't mind having crash with you. To participate, just upload a photo and blurb explaining why you are traveling and what you're looking to do while there. The site matches you to the best host for you and if you like you can even meet them via video chat prior to the trip. Similar apps and websites have also been popping up like the friend groups meeting site Smeeters and the world's largest app for meeting new people, Skout.

As Valentine's Day approaches, it's interesting to note "Galentine's Day," a social gathering of 'gals' in the lead up to Feb. 14th, is now a widely-used term, with Fox doing specials on Fun Gift Ideas for Galentine's Day and TIME publishing lists like 5 Ways to Celebrate Galentine's Day Like Leslie Knope. Amy Poehler's character Leslie Knope coined the term 'Galentine's Day' back in 2010, and it has steadily risen in popularity in Google searches in February ever since.

Shelby Walsh is the president of Trend Hunter, a website tracking industry trends.

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